Avian Flu an Industry
I noticed that your article on the agricultural
union asking for compensation for workers and farmers hurt by the Avian
Flu (Columbia Journal April) said that so far the disease has not
affected free-range chickens.
Could this because these birds are allowed to grow and live in a more
natural environment than being cramped into tiny cages, forced to stand
in their own excrement, all together in a building?
Could this be because these chickens are fed actual grains and lettuce,
instead of complex hormones designed to artificially enhance the
tenderness of their flesh or increase their output of eggs?
It seems the industry needs to give it’s head a good shake and re-think
how it does things before even more birds, and eventually people, are
It wasn’t happening to
Long ago I came to the realization that homo sapiens seems to be
hardwired as primates to react intelligently only to immediate
Somehow, prevention comes from an evolutionary later part of the brain
is therefore not the first line of defence. Just look at monkeys
of the clan is caught by a predator. They run about fifty feet
stop and turn to watch the disaster. After all, it wasn’t
happening to them
I have been reading a lot of economics lately, “The Commanding Heights”
”Jihad vs. McWorld”, both fascinating play-by-play descriptions of the
battle that is waging between two teams, the “Globalists” v the
”Parochialists”. The Globalists are cyber-driven, MBA fuelled
trying to conquer an human sized, comprehensive social order in which
can at least survive, if not prosper.
What the Globalists fail to realize is that the planet is economically
closed system, a financial ecosystem, and that “value” however it is
expressed, does have a theoretical ceiling beyond which cannot
longer can we look to new “frontiers”. What happens is that,
energy, transforms itself into different forms in different locations.
We are seeing one transformation now in the United States. The US
its full economic potential in about 1960, and, despite political
and spin doctoring, it has declined ever since. Having a Honda
the USA and the fact that the Toyota Camry was designed and built
America (plus parts from Mexico) does not change the fact that theyare
subsidiaries of Japanese corporations. Meanwhile, GM is so
it gives away its product using its own money by offering forty-eight
loans for zero percent.
A very wise Professor at UBC once said, “Advertising is society’s way
conversing with itself’”. As a result, rather than switching ads
watch them intently. There are the ubiquitous “feel good, smell
sexy” staples of the advertising business, plus those promising a home
the sterility of an operating theatre.
But there are some significant shifts occurring right now. First,
care and food ads frequently depict a “downsized”, unemployed husband
keeping Home Sterile. Another surge is in the area of “cheap
are too many examples to mention, everything from McDonalds to
Helper. And again, frequently it is the unemployed former
prepares the food.
The most frightening of all is the dramatic rise in the mass
anti-depressants. What were once tucked between the pages of
journals of medicine now appear on our television screens. Of
is still stigma attached to the word “depressed” so the spin doctors
renamed it “Social Affliction Disorder. Which then makes socially
acceptable. We can cope socially with disorders, it is endemic
disease that scares the hell out of us. So what we see is a
which many of its best and brightest are shoved out of the economic
can afford only cheap food, and are on anti-depressants as a result.
And we all are casualties, “collateral damage”, of this war. But
happened the politicians yet, and so they watch, just like monkeys.
Just as Capitalist
Reading the article Your Money Your World (Columbia Journal March
edition) got me thinking about how there’s hardly a greater oxymoron
than the label “Communist China.”
Why not be honest and call a spade, a spade? The only thing Communist
about China is its government’s physically brutal rule over its
populace and that of Tibet; everything else about China’s government is
staunchly capitalist and based on human greed.
Really, let’s cut the crap.
Frank G. Sterle, Jr.
Are we Really
I have lived in the lower mainland all my life, and maybe it’s just my
bias, but it seems in the last few years, too many things have happened
that have turned into disasters because the authorities have been too
slow to respond or responded improperly.
First we had massive flooding problems about four years ago. Then we
had Mad Cow disease. Then the West Nile Virus. Then the major forest
fires in the Okanagan. Then home invasions. Then the allegation of
police brutality against poor residents and concertgoers. Now we have
the Avian Flu.
There have always been major incidents and tragedies. But it seems like
only a few short years ago, things were much more under control: forest
fires got put out sooner; disease was contained better, and the police
seemed better at fighting crime instead of hurting people.
Could this all be because of government cutbacks, poor industrial
practices, lack of accountability of both, or just a decline in
individual or social morality and concern for each other’s well-being?
I have no scientific evidence to back up these observations. But it is
my impression. I hope I’m wrong.
Deals with the
Devil Don’t Work
How do you spell sell-out? So BC didn’t walk out to knock out this
government because our elected union leaders struck deal and called it
So, in return for a huge wage cut, hospital workers are protected from
any more contracting out and privatization. Sounds like a deal, doesn’t
it. After all, the government agreed to it, right? Well, the Devil
apparently makes deals too.
Given the fact that the Liberals haven’t kept a promise since they were
elected, what makes everyone so sure they will keep this one? This
agreement comes from people who said they wouldn’t rip up collective
agreements, privatize health care, sell off BC Hydro or BC Rail and on
and on—and then went ahead and did just that.
They have no mandate to govern this province and no deal made with them
can be trusted.
Now to the next election, when the pro-Liberal media and big business
come on side to lie about and outspend the NDP and compromise its
lead in the polls by trying to buy the election the way they bought the
Never mind sell-out. How do you spell stupid?
not a Solution
As someone who just had their surgery reschedule due to the illegal HEU
walkout, I can sure say I didn’t like the way they handled the crisis.
It was panicked and hotheaded.
For certain I do not support privatized health care, nor do I support
the way the government is treating health care workers. In spite of
their strike, I do appreciate the hard work they do keeping our
But simply reacting to a tough and bull-headed, and, frankly,
incompetent government by getting angry and walking off the job leaving
thousands of patients in the lurch isn’t the way to act.
Maybe in other countries, people have to resort to these measures to
fight the government or the employers. But in Canada, we have the rule
of law, and there are other ways of dealing with the problems, like the
courts, arbitration and changing the government in elections.
HEU Did OK.,
Right now I hear a lot of anger from both health care workers, other
union members and many of their supporters in the public that they got
a raw deal from the government by not going out on a full general
strike against the Liberal government.
But I wonder why. The deal between the HEU and the government, brokered
by the BC Federation of Labour, actually forced the government to
literally scrap the biggest part of its Bill 37: the unlimited
contracting out of HEU jobs and privatizing the health system.
The trade-off was a 15 per cent wage cut. Granted, that’s a hard fiscal
blow to people who earn a modest income to begin with. But at least
they got to keep their jobs, and the government had to give up what was
clearly the biggest part of its agenda for health care.
All in all, I think these folks should consider themselves lucky.
crook, not Robinson
Your web site article about the
leaders of the major political parties, especially Paul Martin, wishing
Burnaby MP Svend Robinson well but still leaving a question about his
innocence leaves a lot to be desired.
Robinson, in a fit of mental
break-down, took a piece of jewelry in plain view almost expecting to
get caught, and then turned himself in to the police, apologized to the
company and stepped down pending an investigation.
Martin lied his way into office
promisng to restore health care and education funding, scrapping NAFTA
and the GST and balancing the budget by growing the economy through job
creation. Instead he gutted federal contributions to both, signed
NAFTA, kept the GST and handed out corporate tax breaks while
Now his government is under
investigation for all kinds of scandals. Yet he clings to power and
wants us all to re-elect him as prime minister. Now, I ask who should
we be more concerned about?
Clocks to Measure Political Lies
A BC man died and went to heaven. As he stood in front of St.
Peter at the Pearly Gates, he saw a huge wall of clocks behind
him. He asked, "What are all those clocks?"
St. Peter answered, "Those are Lie-Clocks. Everyone on Earth has
a Lie-Clock. Every time you lie, the hands on your clock will
"Oh," said the man, "whose clock is that?"
"That's Mother Teresa's. The hands have never moved, indicating
that she never told a lie."
"Incredible," said the man. "And whose clock is that one?"
St. Peter responded, "That's Abraham Lincoln's clock. The hands have
moved twice, telling us that Abe told only two lies in his entire life."
"Where's Gordon Campbell's clock", asked the man.
"The Premier's clock is in God's office. He's using it as a
After seeing the Dalai Lama’s impressive lecture in Vancouver (Columbia Journal April
), I began to
wonder about how easy it is for people to turn to totalitarianism and
Tibet is currently under military occupation by the China, and that’s
an atrocity. Yet while the Dalai Lama’s message of fighting such evil
with promoting compassion and peace is a very good one, many of his
followers see him literally as a living god, waiting for him to seize
power in Tibet and rule it at his own discretion (even though he has
said he doesn’t want this for himself).
How much less totalitarian is that than being occupied by an invading
army? Some of these people were present at his event and were
advocating in the name of a “free Tibet.” It’s truly frightening that
some people can fight oppression in one case and blindly accept it in
Glad to see an independent voice in the John Graham case. Good piece I
shall be saving. One slight adjustment, though. Graham has not beaten
the attempt to discontinue bail. Madame Justice Levine has reserved
decision on it so it's in limbo.